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Domain Name Glossary

Domain Name Glossary

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Administrative contact
The contact responsible for any administrative issues pertaining to the domain-name account. Any administrative changes to the domain must be approved by the administrative contact. The registrar will use this contact for any non-technical questions it may have regarding the domain name.

Sponsored top-level domain. Reserved for members of the aviation community.

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Billing contact
The contact responsible for all billing information relating to the domain name. This person will also receive any invoices, charges or billing questions related to the domain name.

Top-level domain reserved for the business community.

A program that provides a way to read hypertext and thus look at and interact with (i.e. "browse") the information on the World Wide Web. Technically, a Web browser is a client program that uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to make requests of Web servers throughout the Internet. The most frequently used Web browsers are Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator.

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Generic top-level domain. The most commonly used TLD on the Web.

Restricted top-level domain. Reserved for cooperative businesses.

Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD)
Country-code top-level domains are assigned to all countries and their dependencies. ccTLDs include .us, .uk., .fr, .de, ca, au, .jp, .br, and .sa. Country-code top-level domains are generally available exclusively for residents of the country to which the domain refers, but specific registration criteria are defined by each country individually.

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Domain Name System. The domain name system enables each machine connected on the Internet to be recognized by a domain name. Every computer on the Internet has a unique IP (Internet protocol) address which consists of a string of numbers. DNS translates a domain name — such as — into the Internet Protocol (IP) numbers to find the correct Web site — in this case CNN's home page. Thus, DNS enables the user to type in the domain name, rather than the IP address.

Domain name
A domain name is a Web address. The domain name is mapped to an IP address (which represents a physical point on the Internet). When someone types a domain name into a Web browser's address field, the requested Web page will open.
A domain name consists of a top-level and a second-level domain. The top-level domain (TLD) is the domain name extension located to the right of the dot (" . "). Examples of top-level domains are .com, .org, ,net., and .gov. Located to the left of the dot (" . "), the second-level domain name (SLD) is the "readable" part of the address. The SLD usually refers to the organization or entity behind the Internet address.

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Generic, restricted top-level domain. Available exclusively to degree-granting educational institutions of higher education that are accredited by one of the six U.S. regional accrediting agencies.

Top-level domain.

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File Transfer Protocol. A standard Internet protocol, FTP is the simplest way to exchange files between computers on the Internet. FTP is commonly used to transfer Web page files from their creator to the computer that acts as their server for everyone on the Internet. As well, FTP is often used to download programs and other files to your computer from other servers. FTP transfers are made via an FTP software program such as WS_FTP or CuteFTP.

Fully-qualified domain name
A fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) is that portion of an Internet Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that fully identifies the server program that an Internet request is addressed to. The FQDN includes the top-level domain name, the second-level domain name and any other levels. An FQDN should be sufficient to determine a unique Internet address for any host on the Internet. The prefix "http://" added to the fully-qualified domain name completes the URL.

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Generic top-level domain (gTLD)
A top-level domain that is available to registrants around the world. gTLDs include .aero, .biz, .com, .info, .museum, .name, .net, .org, and .ws.

Restricted, generic top-level domain. Available exclusively for the United States Government.

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Host server
See name server

Hypertext Markup Language. The markup language that constitutes the set of markup symbols or codes inserted in a file intended for display on a World Wide Web browser page. The markup tells the Web browser how to display a Web page's words and images for the user. Each individual markup code is referred to as an element — or a tag. The current version of HTML is HTML 4.0. However, the major browsers — Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator — implement some features differently and provide non-standard extensions.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The protocol used for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires an HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used on the World Wide Web (WWW). The latest version of HTTP is HTTP 1.1.

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Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. An international non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities.

Generic top-level domain. Unrestricted, but generally used for informative purposes.

A service established to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services. InterNIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is licensed to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which operates the site.

IP address
The 32-bit numeric identification number that refers to a specific machine on the Internet.

Internet service provider. An ISP is a company that provides individuals and other companies access to the Internet and other related services such as Web site building and virtual hosting.

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Generic top-level domain operated exclusively by the United States Military.

Generic top-level domain reserved for museums.

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Generic top-level domain reserved exclusively for individuals.

Name server
The computer that organizes domain names to correspond to their IP addresses. Also called a host.

Generic top-level domain. Unrestricted, but primarily used by Internet service providers (ISPs).

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Generic top-level domain. Unrestricted, but mainly used by nonprofit organizations.

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Parking a domain
When a registered domain is parked, the domain is reserved but remains inactive. A temporary Web page is displayed until the site is unparked — or activated. Domain name parking is often used by registrants who do not yet have a hosting provider or who haven't yet built a site for the domain.

Soon-to-be-activated generic top-level domain. Once established, the domain will be available exclusively for certified professionals, such as accountants, lawyers and physicians.

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The entity, organization or individual that registers a domain name. Once the domain name is registered, the registrant can use the domain name for the period of time the domain is registered.

A registrar is an entity that registers domain names with the registry on behalf of registrants. The registrar is the entity which submits and maintains the registrants domain name with the registry database. Registrants are required to use a registrar to register a domain name.

Registration fee
The charge for registering a domain name. The registration fee covers the cost of processing the initial registration and maintaining the domain name record. Most top-level domain names can be registered for up to 10 years.

A central registry responsible for delegating Internet addresses, such as domain names, and keeping a record of those addresses and the information associated with their individual top-level domains.

Renewal of domain name
To continue the registration of the domain name after the original expiration date.

Restricted top-level domain name (rTLD)
A top-level domain, such as .biz, .gov, .museum, .name, and .pro, that is only available to registrants who meet certain criteria.

The top of the domain name system hierarchy. Often referred to as the "dot."

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Second-level domain (SLD)
In the domain name system (DNS), the next-highest level of the hierarchy underneath the top-level domain. Located immediately to the left of the dot (" . "), the second-level domain is the "readable" part of the domain name. The second-level domain often refers to the organization or entity associated with the IP address. For example, in:, "yourdomain" is a second-level domain.

In general, a server is a computer or software package that provides services to other computer programs in the same or other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a World Wide Web server, or to the machine on which the software is running. A single server machine can have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.

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Technical contact
The contact responsible for providing technical domain name information, such as the name server. The registrar will contact the technical contact with any questions of a technical nature.

Third-level domain
In the domain name system (DNS), third level domains are the next-highest level of the hierarchy underneath the second level domains. In a domain name, it is that portion of the domain name that appears two segments to the left of the top-level domain. For example, the "sterling" in "" In the case of the domain name "", the third level domain is "www."

Top-level domain (TLD)
In the domain name system (DNS), the top-level domain (TLD) is the highest level of the hierarchy after the root. In a domain name, the TLD is portion of the domain name that appears to the extreme right. Examples are .biz, .com, .gov, .mil, and .org.
The top-level domains have certain guidelines attached, but are for the most part available to any registrant, anywhere in the world. Exceptions are the restricted TLDs (rTLDs), which include .aero, .mil, .museum, and .pro, that require the registrant to represent a certain type of entity, or to belong to a certain community. Where appropriate, a top-level domain name can be of geographic significance and hence only available to registrants in a certain locale defined by the TLD. These are called country-code TLDs (ccTLDs).

Domain names can be sold to another individual or organization or the name of a company might change. Most registrars require a process by which permission from the old owner to hand over control to the new owner is authorized. The procedure for change of ownership is known as a transfer.

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Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy
ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) defines how disputes over domain-name registrations are resolved in the global top-level domains (.biz, .com, .info, .name, .name, .net, .org, .pro, and .ws, as well as .aero, .coop, and .museum). The UDRP does not apply to country-code top-level domains, except in a few cases where the local administrator has decided to adopt it.

Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is the address to a destination on the Internet or intranet. The URL consists of a communications protocol followed by a colon and two forward slashes and the destination location. Examples of URLs are:


Country-code top-level domain. Available exclusively for residents of the United States and its territories.

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Virtual host
Also called an IPP (Internet presence provider). In order to establish a full-time presence on the Internet, one needs to have computers that are connected continuously to the Internet. Special hardware and software are needed, as well as constant maintenance of a full-time high-speed connection to the Internet. Virtual hosting is the provision of Web server hosting services so that a company (or individual) doesn't have to purchase and maintain its own Web server and connections to the Internet. Because the electronic frontage (or Web site) actually resides on the IPP's computers, and not that of the entity, it is virtual. Hence the name.

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Web page
A block of information running on a world-wide server process, identified by a specific URL. Such pages are generally written in HTML. It is, however, possible for a server to create a dynamic Web page via special scripts.

Web site
A collection of Web files on a particular subject that includes a beginning file called a home page. A Web site is identified by its second-level domain.

A function that allows the visitor to look up the contact details of a domain name.

Generic top-level domain name. Stands for "Web site."

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